Chapter

Our bodies, ourselves<sup>1</sup>

Ann Oakley

in Fracture

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9781861349378
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302360 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861349378.003.0002
Our bodies, ourselves1

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What is the body? A ‘concrete, material, animate organisation of flesh, organs, nerves, muscles, and skeletal structure’ , but one which only takes shape as part of a psychical and social order. Corporeal existence dominates everyday life — people eat, sleep, excrete, copulate, ambulate: one's being in the world depends utterly on the body's physicality. However, while the body is the most abiding presence in one's life, the main feature of this presence is actually absence. The problem with bodies is that they're both material objects and the site of human experience. This chapter argues that although one lives in one's bodies, one's social and personal identities are separate from them.

Keywords: body; physicality; human experience; skeletal structure; social order

Chapter.  5754 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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